A reevaluation of intraarterial thrombolytic therapy for acute lower extremity ischemia

Christopher A. DeMaioribus, Joseph L. Mills, Roy M. Fujitani, Spence M. Taylor, Allen E. Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study was performed to clarify the role of intraarterial thrombolytic therapy (IATT) in the management of acute lower extremity ischemia. Methods: A retrospective review of 77 patients undergoing 84 courses of high-dose regional urokinase IATT from July 1981 to June 1991 was performed. The group included patients with acute thrombosis of lower extremity bypass grafts (n = 48) or native arteries (n = 36), presenting with ischemic but viable limbs, minimal or no motor dysfunction, and an absence of muscle rigor or compartment syndrome. The data were then examined individually by site of thrombosis to evaluate patient selection for IATT. Results: Complete lysis, complications (either distal thromboembolism or bleeding), and early limb loss occurred in 59.5%, 11%, and 6% of infusions, respectively. IATT precluded the need for operative intervention in 49% of acutely ischemic limbs. When surgery was required, successful IATT precisely localized responsible lesions and reduced the magnitude of operation. A subset of 13 patients were identified in whom either no intrinsic abnormality or poor runoff were evident after lysis and were treated with anticoagulation alone. Conclusions: These data show IATT to be especially suitable for thrombosis of native iliac or femoropopliteal arteries and infrainguinal vein grafts. IATT serves primarily as an adjunct in management of acute lower extremity ischemia. After successful IATT, subsequent therapy can be tailored to the anatomic cause of thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)888-895
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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